Archive for the ‘Finally some good news’ Category

Rethink Afghanistan

September 11, 2009

http://rethinkafghanistan.com/

Advertisements

Charlie Sheen Requests Meeting With Obama Over 9/11 Cover-Up

September 9, 2009

080909top3

Paul Joseph Watson
Prison Planet.com
Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Actor and television star Charlie Sheen has publicly requested a meeting with President Barack Obama to urge him to reopen the official investigation into 9/11 in light of the fact that the majority of the 9/11 Commission members have now publicly gone on record to express their conviction that the government agreed to lie about the official story.

Sheen’s request takes the form of a letter to the President in the context of a fictional meeting between the two entitled “20 Minutes With The President,” published exclusively on radio talk show host Alex Jones’ Infowars.com and Prison Planet.com websites.

The letter cites evidence, backed up by a substantial online bibliography, that proves the official story behind 9/11 is a fraud and that this conclusion was also reached by the majority of the 9/11 Commission members, a fact that mandates President Obama to reopen the investigation into the terrorist attacks.

Sheen expresses his hope that President Obama will follow through on his promises of change, accountability and government transparency by using his executive powers to re-examine 9/11, adding that he voted for Obama with the understanding that he would follow a different course to the Bush administration.

However, as Sheen highlights in his letter, the course of Obama’s first year in office clearly indicates that he will do nothing to reverse policies crafted by the Bush regime, and in fact has sought to exceed outrages of the previous administration in areas such as warrantless wiretapping, rendition, detention without trial, and wars in the Middle East – all of which arrived as a consequence of 9/11.

Sheen’s letter is a public declaration demanding the truth behind 9/11 as America approaches its eighth anniversary since the tragic events of that day. His questions are shared by a majority of victims’ family members, according to Bill Doyle, the representative of the largest 9/11 families group.

The letter focuses around the fact that no less than 60 per cent of the 9/11 commissioners have now publicly stated that the government agreed not to tell the truth about 9/11 and that the Pentagon was engaged in deliberate deception about their response to the attack.

Sheen also presents a plethora of other evidence to illustrate how the official story is a fraud, including the revelations of whistle blowers like FBI translator Sibel Edmonds, who recently broke a Federal gag order to expose how Bin Laden and Al-Qaeda were working for the U.S. government right up until the day of 9/11.

The issues highlighted by Sheen do not represent idle speculation or conspiracy fodder, they are documented facts that have been deliberately ignored by strawman 9/11 truth hit pieces that are now doing the rounds again as the anniversary approaches, particularly last months’ 9/11: Science and Conspiracy which was aired by the National Geographic Channel and wasted little time in portraying people who have doubts about the official 9/11 story as extremist cranks, while failing to acknowledge that the majority of the members of the 9/11 Commission have publicly expressed similar concerns.

Charlie Sheen is once again using his prominent public platform in an attempt to expand a national debate about the disturbing unanswered questions behind 9/11, having first spoken out on the issue in March 2006. After he first went public, Sheen was asked to do more and now he is doing more as he feels there is a chance to get more traction behind a new investigation with a new President in the White House.

Sheen is directly appealing to Barack Obama to read his letter and to look into the lies surrounding 9/11 for himself.

Regardless of whether or not President Obama agrees to meet with him, Sheen is confident that his letter will serve as a catalyst from which questions surrounding 9/11 and other false flag events will be brought to national attention.

This is a call to action and a declaration of war on the lies of 9/11 that have formed the foundation of the endless wars abroad and the police state at home as the Republic falls. Sheen is demanding that truth activists and those who simply care about the future of the country stand up beside him and speak truth to power.

Sheen is now urging grass roots political organizations and individuals across the country, such as the town hall protesters and We Are Change groups, to go to press conferences and other public events and demand answers about the truth behind 9/11. As much awareness as possible around the issue of false flag terrorism needs to be generated in order to prevent tragedies like 9/11 from happening again. Sheen emphasizes in his letter that we cannot let 9/11 become ancient history, try and forget about it or just move on, because if a nation forgets its history then it is doomed to repeat it.

We cannot allow governments to continue to advance their political agendas by exploiting forged pretexts, argues Sheen, and the fact that big budget hit pieces against 9/11 truth are still being rolled out proves that the establishment is upset that the population is waking up to false flag terror.

Sheen will appear live on The Alex Jones Show on Wednesday and Friday to discuss the content of his “20 Minutes With The President” piece and how he plans to move forward with this exciting new initiative. You can listen free here or subscribe to prison planet.tv to watch live streaming video.

No matter what your views are on 9/11, Sheen is begging the thinking public to look at how manymembers of the 9/11 Commission itself have questioned the official story, along with the scores of other highly credible former and current government officials, intelligence professionals, military officials, scientists, structural engineers and architects, and legal scholars who have all publicly denounced the fraud that continues to masquerade as the official 9/11 story.

For media requests on this subject email sheen@infowars.com.

http://www.infowars.com/charlie-sheen-requests-meeting-with-obama-over-911-cover-up/

Related Story:

Twenty Minutes with the President

http://www.infowars.com/twenty-minutes-with-the-president/

The Drive for Single Payer

September 8, 2009

winnieportlandblue

Monday, August 31. 2009

After several weeks of protests at Senate hearings and health care events by single payer advocates (visit singlepayeraction.org), six physicians from Oregon, with 191 years of combined real-world medical experience, are crossing the country in a 27-foot Winnebago making stops in nearly 30 cities, to debate, educate and advance full medicare for all. Everybody in, nobody out.

Calling themselves “Mad as Hell Doctors,” these physicians are already drawing crowds and expect thousands to turn out at each city that they visit, culminating in a large arrival demonstration in front of the White House around October 1. (Visit www.madashelldoctors.com)

They have written President Obama asking for a meeting “to discuss the future of health care as well as the moral, social, and fiscal imperative of enacting a single-payer system for America at this moment in our history.”

The White House turned them down flat, not even leaving the door open for reconsideration. Mr. Obama has met countless times with the CEOs of large corporations, whose greed and callousness causes so much of this crisis. Though he believes in single payer “if we started from scratch,” he has yet to meet with any single payer delegation.

The White House has shown that it lacks smarts. The formless, waffling Obama health insurance proposal is being shattered by the Republican cluster of Limbaugh-driven lies and the Blue Dog renegades in the Democratic Party, who are busy cashing mounds of campaign checks from the so-called health business. By ignoring and excluding the majority-supported single payer approach, the White House stifles any kind of insurance reform worthy of the name.

Publicized lies are translating into fears among people who should be supporting full medicare for all. FactCheck.org reports that “a notorious analysis of the House health care bill contains 48 claims. Twenty-six of them are false, and the rest are mostly misleading. Only four are true. For example, false are claims that the bill includes an order for end-of-life plans or health care for illegal aliens or assertions that ‘your health care will be rationed.’”

So wild are the falsehoods, fueled by runaway internet traffic, that the Republican National Committee implied in a fundraising letter that Democrats may structure the overhaul in a way to deny medical treatment to Republicans!

As with war, truth is the first casualty when it comes to the health care debate. The Democratically-controlled Congress, on its return after Labor Day, needs a wide-ranging personal, evidence-based series of public House and Senate hearings to again publicize the compelling story of avoidable suffering, fraud, waste, egregious profiteering and top executive self-enrichment – all subsidized by taxpayers.

Take the enormous and shocking information researched by Harvard Professor Malcolm Sparrow—an applied mathematician whose knowledge of health care billing schemes and regulatory deficiencies is without peer.

Mr. Sparrow is no arm-chair commentator. He has dug deeply into the enormously comprehensive frauds on medicare and consumers. He has found payments for medical services ordered by deceased doctors or huge payments in treatments for deceased patients—many gone for years.

Highlighting the widespread fraud on medicare by criminal behavior, he argues that these actions should be treated as “a crime problem” not just a “claims-processing problem.” Without criminal prosecutions, there is no deterrent stopping this massive robbery.

How massive? Read these words in recent testimony by Professor Sparrow:

The units of measure for losses due to health care fraud and abuse in this country are hundreds of billions of dollars per year. We just don’t know the first digit. It might be as low as one hundred billion. More likely two or three. Possibly four or five. But whatever that first digit is, it has eleven zeroes after it. These are staggering sums of money to waste, and the task of controlling and reducing these losses warrants a great deal of serious attention.

In the early 1990s, the Congressional Government Accounting Office estimated that billing fraud accounts for 10% of health care spending annually. That would be about $250 billion this year. In 1993, Attorney General Janet Reno declared that health care fraud was the number two crime problem, after violent crime in the country.

With someone as carefully authoritative as Malcolm Sparrow, the Democrats can make this crime spree front and center during the health care debate. People want to be assured that their health insurance dollars are protected. Instead the “license to steal,” which is the title of Mr. Sparrow’s groundbreaking book, continues. And the Republicans continue to sidetrack priorities for action with seedy prevarications.

It is a remarkable commentary on the state of the White House and Congress that the Democrats appear befuddled in dealing with the kind of coarse, cruel, fear-mongering that an FDR and Lyndon Johnson would have overwhelmed and sent packing.

Meanwhile, join the “Care-A-Van” of roadtripping Oregon physicians and their efforts to bring the message of health care for all to Washington, DC.

<!– –>

http://www.nader.org/index.php?/archives/2137-The-Drive-for-Single-Payer.html

Japan Wants to Power 300,000 Homes With Wireless Energy From Space

September 5, 2009

spacesolar1

By Adrian Covert

Japan has serious plans to send a solar-panel-equipped satellite into space that could wirelessly beam a gigawatt-strong stream of power down to earth and power nearly 300,000 homes.

The satellite will have a surface area of four square kilometers, and transmit power via microwave to a base station on Earth. Putting solar panels in space bypasses many of the difficulties of installing them on Earth: in orbit, there are no cloudy days, very few zoning laws, and the cold ambient temperature is ideal.

A small test model is scheduled for launch in 2015. To iron out all the kinks and get a fully functional system set up is estimated to take three decades. A major kink, presumably, is coping with the possible dangers when a 1-gigawatt microwave beam aimed at a small spot on Earth misses its target.

The $21 billion project just received major backing from Mitsubishi and designer IHI (in addition to research teams from 14 other countries).

[via Bloomberg via Inhabitat]

http://www.popsci.com/scitech/article/2009-09/japan-wants-power-300000-homes-wireless-power-space

DUI attorney challenges laws prohibiting driving while stoned

September 4, 2009

“This is about the only thing keeping me interested in living on a planet with a lot of strange, silly, and weak minded people. Well plus good music & art and all the normal creatively free-thinking people, too. Ahh, who am I kidding, I love it here… I just wish I could snap more people out of their slumbers and stick some stiff upright spines in their backs, so, we can all begin the path to a more independent, (i.e. less government), understanding, intellectual, and compassionate way of conducting our way in our worlds very, very beautiful patchwork.”

-F.F. 9/03/01

sour-diesel

BY STEPHEN C. WEBSTER

Is driving while under the influence of THC, one of marijuana’s active ingredients, actually dangerous? One prominent California DUI attorney believes it is not nearly as dangerous as driving drunk and has issued a challenge to laws that punish marijuana users who get behind the wheel.

San Diego defense attorney Lawrence Taylor, considered “The Dean of DUI Attorneys,” according to a release by his firm, is apparently arguing that DUI laws are unfair because they do not allow consideration for the varying degrees of inebriation caused by drugs of abuse.

Drivers convicted of marijuana intoxication are usually sentenced only after authorities have taken a blood sample. However that blood sample, he notes, only measures the body’s metabolism of marijuana’s compounds, not the actual level of impairment.

Evidence of marijuana use can remain in the human body for weeks or or longer, as it has been shown to latch on to fat cells, causing some inactive users to fail drug tests after a period of weight loss. For drivers accused of operating a vehicle while stoned, the presence of blood test results showing recent marijuana consumption can become a tricky legal hurdle.

In an advisory circulated through PRNewswire, Taylor cites two recent federal studies which concluded driving stoned is less dangerous than driving drunk, particular for more experienced marijuana users.

“In one [study], the U.S. Department of Transportation conducted DUI research with a fully interactive simulator on the effects of alcohol and marijuana, alone and in combination, on driver-controlled behavior and performance,” Taylor’s release said.

That study noted, “alcohol was found to have a consistent and significant impairment effect, while marijuana had only an occasional effect,” according to the National Transportation Library. “Also, there was little evident of interaction between alcohol and marijuana. Accidents and speeding tickets reliably increased under alcohol, but no marijuana or combined alcohol and marijuana influence was noted. The alcohol impairment effects on steering and speed control behavior and performance were consistent with the increased accident and ticket rate.”

On his blog, Taylor wrote in April: “A more recent report entitled “Marijuana and Actual Performance”, DOT-HS-808-078, noted that ‘THC is not a profoundly impairing drug….It apparently affects controlled information processing in a variety of laboratory tests, but not to the extent which is beyond the individual’s ability to control when he is motivated and permitted to do so in driving’.”

He added that the researcher concluded it is apparently “not possible to conclude anything about a driver’s impairment on the basis of his/her plasma concentrations of THC and THC-COOH determined in a single sample.”

Taylor, who authored the book “Drunk Driving Defense,” also said recently that DUI laws discriminate against women, as current means of measuring sobriety put females over the legal limit, even when they’ve consumed less alcohol than a man of similar weight and height.

For that claim he cited a study by the Journal of Analytical Toxicology, which found that “women have significantly lower partition ratios than men,” his release noted. “[The] lower the ratio, the higher the reading — even though the true blood alcohol level does not vary.”

Which means, “the breathalyzer will show an average man accused of drunk driving to be innocent — but a woman with the same blood alcohol level to be guilty,” Taylor said.

http://rawstory.com/08/news/2009/09/03/dui-attorney-challenges-laws-prohibiting-driving-while-stoned/

Blackwater Founder Accused in Court of Intent to Kill

September 3, 2009

APTOPIX Blackwater Iraq

By Jerry Markon

Washington Post Staff Writer
Saturday, August 29, 2009

The attorneys singled out Erik Prince, a former Navy SEAL who is the company’s owner, for blame in the deaths of more than 20 Iraqis between 2005 and 2007. Six former Blackwater guards were criminally charged in 14 of the shootings, and family members and victims’ estates sued Prince, Blackwater (now called Xe Services LLC) and a group of related companies.

“The person responsible for these deaths is Mr. Prince,” Susan L. Burke, an attorney for the plaintiffs, said in U.S. District Court in Alexandria. “He had the intent, he provided the weapons, he provided the instructions, and they were done by his agents and they were war crimes.”

Judge T.S. Ellis III expressed deep skepticism about the claims. “Are you accusing Mr. Prince of saying ‘I want our boys to go out and shoot innocent civilians?’ ” he asked the attorneys.”These are certainly allegations of not engaging in very nice conduct, but where are the elements that meet the elements of murder? I don’t have any doubt that you can infer malice. What you can’t infer, as far as I can tell, is intent to kill these people.”

Attorneysfor the former Blackwater company denied the allegations at the hearing, which was called to consider their motion to dismiss the lawsuit. Ellis said he would issue a ruling “promptly.”

The hearing — combative in its words but respectful in tone — was the latest fallout from Blackwater’s controversial actions in Iraq. The North Carolina company, which has provided security under a lucrative State Department contract, has come under scrutiny for a string of incidents in which its heavily armed guards were accused of using excessive force.

The deadliest was a September 2007 shooting in central Baghdad in which Blackwater guards opened fire on Iraqis in a crowded street, killing 17 civilians. The company has said the guards’ convoy came under fire. Five former Blackwater guards have been indicted on federal charges in 14 of those shootings. A sixth guard pleaded guilty.

The lawsuit cites that incident and other shootings to accuse the company of “lawless behavior.” A consolidation of five earlier lawsuits, it says the company covered up killings and hired known mercenaries. In sworn affidavits recently filed by the plaintiffs’ attorneys, two anonymous former Blackwater employees also say — without citing evidence — that the company may have conspired to murder witnesses in the criminal probe.

Attorneys for Blackwater say the lawsuit should be dismissed on a variety of legal grounds and that although the deaths were tragic, the guards were closely supervised by U.S. government officials. The allegations “go far beyond describing the harm allegedly suffered by Plaintiffs,” the Blackwater attorneys wrote in their motion to dismiss. “They include an encyclopedia of vituperative assertions.”

The Blackwater attorneys are also calling on the judge to strike the affidavits from the former employees from the court record, calling them “scandalous and baseless” and designed to get publicity. Ellis has yet to rule on that motion.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/08/28/AR2009082803782.html

**Related Stories:

Xe-Blackwater warcrimes case: complaint, 2009

This complaint forms part of a lawsuit filed against the US mercenary firm Blackwater for war crimes, wrongful death, summary exectuion, and other matters. It is a public record, but currently only available for a fee from PACER.

There is an outstanding motion to seal two exhibits by anonymous Blackwater employees which contain reports about the company’s allegedly illegal actions.

PDF: http://88.80.13.160.nyud.net/leak/xe-blackwater-warcrimes-and-complaint-2009.pdf


Ron Paul Endorsing Debra Medina

September 3, 2009

I would like to introduce you to a good friend of mine, Debra Medina. I have known Debra for over ten years and have always been impressed by her drive and commitment to principle. Debra has been a real defender of Liberty both in her home town of Wharton and across the state of Texas.

Debra has for years been a key supporter and member of my campaign team. As chairman of the Wharton County Republican Party, she has stood up to the big government establishment and fought to hold our party accountable to our platform and our conservative Texas values. Because of her leadership and organizational skills, I asked Debra to serve on the board of directors of my national grassroots action group, Campaign for Liberty, where she has played an important role in our fight to defend our Constitution.

In addition to her political accomplishments, I am proud of Debra for the person she is. Debra Medina is a loving wife, a home school mother of two talented honor students, and a successful business owner. Debra is a true success story and role model for Texans across our state.

I am proud to call Debra Medina a friend, and as a fellow Texan, I encourage you to get to know her. Debra is exploring a run for higher office and would appreciate your input on her effort. You can learn more about her at www.medinafortexas.com.

I am sure we will look to Debra for leadership in my community and across our state for many years to come.

In Liberty,

Ron Paul

highres_89164642

No Compromise on Audit the Fed!

September 1, 2009

August 31, 2009

Dear Friend of Liberty,

Our grassroots Revolution has set its sights on restoring a sound monetary policy to our nation, and every day we are awakening more of our countrymen to the dangers of Federal Reserve secrecy and its stranglehold on our economy.

A year ago, no one in the political establishment would have believed that a bill to thoroughly audit the Fed would have almost two-thirds of the House (including every Republican representative and nearly one hundred Democrats) and a quarter of the Senate on board.

Certainly, no one would have bet that three-fourths of the American people would supportsuch an audit.

As many of you may have heard by now, recent statements from Representative Barney Frank, chairman of the House Financial Services Committee, have indicated that the House will vote on Audit the Fed in the next few months.

However, rather than voting on HR 1207 as a standalone bill, many in Congress hope to roll it into the comprehensive regulatory reform package recently proposed by the White House.

This reform package grants new, more comprehensive powers to the Fed and strengthens the government’s control over our economy. C4L and other friends of liberty stand in opposition to this proposal, as well as any other attempt to convert this historic movement for transparency into yet another rubber-stamping of politics as usual.

It is imperative that Audit the Fed come before the House and Senate on its own merits.

The American people stand behind a thorough audit of the Fed, and we should not be adding additional powers when we don’t fully know what is being done with the ones they currently have.

Call Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s office today at (202) 225-0100 and urge her to stand with the American people by giving the Audit the Fed bill full debate and a standalone vote on the House floor.

Click herefor contact information for your representatives and senators and ask them to get behind Audit the Fed if they have not yet done so. If they have already cosponsored, tell them to push for a roll call vote on HR 1207 and S 604 on the bills’ own merits.

Our movement has worked hard to bring transparency and accountability to one of the nation’s most secretive institutions. Audit the Fed has received a bipartisan level of support that is very rare in politics today.

Together, we can see a comprehensive audit of the Federal Reserve signed into law, but it should not be accompanied by more of the same interventionist legislation that helped create the current crisis.

In Liberty,

John Tate

President

P.S. Click hereto take action, and don’t forget to tell your family and friends about AuditTheFed.com, where they can view the coalition in support of transparency, sign a petition, and learn more about this historic effort.

Grand Opening of the Medina for Texas Web Store

September 1, 2009

logo

Grand Opening of the Medina for Texas Web Store

We Texans know how to fight for liberty. We won’t sit idly by and watch our freedoms stripped away. It is our responsibility to buck these career politicians and their big spending, broken promise, RINO politics. The only true conservative to step into the gubernatorial boxing ring is Debra Medina. Debra has answered the call to service and is ready to fight for Texas!

Rick Perry and Kay Bailey Hutchison may have big names and deep pockets, but they lack honesty, accountability, and real conservative values. We Texans must stand behind Debra Medina and support the only conservative candidate that is running for governor in 2010.

What can you do? Get on board! Go to www.medinafortexas.comand check out the store! You can order bumper stickers, t-shirts, yard signs, and flyers. Bumper stickers are a great way to get Debra’s name in front of hundreds of people. T-shirts can be utilized as a great segue into conversations. The flyers are very informative and can be passed out at rallies, to neighbors, friends and family, or any other public forum. Yards signs are a great way to show your support and they encourage others to make a stand. Purchasing Medina merchandise not only supports the campaign, but it gives you the opportunity to help Debra get her name out there. All transactions, including direct donations, can be made via PayPal. If you would like to make a donation to the campaign without using PayPal, please send donations to:

Debra Medina Campaign
904 W. Montgomery
Suite 4-506
Willis, TX 77378

We Texans have a big fight on our hands, but with your support, we can take back our state. Big government Republicans are not right for Texas! Pass this email along. Tell everyone that Texas does have another choice for governor; that choice is Debra Medina!

Visit the Medina For Texas website at http://www.medinafortexas.com.

web store
join-us
donate

Political ad paid for by Debra Medina Campaign, Mark Vacek, Treasurer.

57% Would Like to Replace Entire Congress

August 31, 2009

“Its time for the tar & feathers people.”

-F.F.

bums

Sunday, August 30, 2009

If they could vote to keep or replace the entire Congress, just 25% of voters nationwide would keep the current batch of legislators.

A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that 57% would vote to replace the entire Congress and start all over again. Eighteen percent (18%) are not sure how they would vote.

Overall, these numbers are little changed since last October. When Congress was passing the unpopular $700-billion bailout plan in the heat of a presidential campaign and a seeming financial industry meltdown, 59% wanted to throw them all out. At that time, just 17% wanted to keep them.

There has been a bit of a partisan shift since last fall. With Democrats controlling both chambers of Congress, it’s not surprising to find that the number of Democrats who would vote to keep the entire Congress has grown from 25% last fall to 43% today. In fact, a modest plurality of Democrats would now vote to keep the legislators. Last fall, a plurality of Democrats were ready to throw them all out.

(Want a free daily e-mail update? If it’s in the news, it’s in our polls). Rasmussen Reports updates are also available on Twitter or Facebook.

While Democrats have become more supportive of the legislators, voters not affiliated with either major party have moved in the opposite direction. Today, 70% of those not affiliated with either major party would vote to replace all of the elected politicians in the House and Senate. That’s up from 62% last year.

Republicans, not surprisingly, overwhelmingly support replacing everyone in the Congress. Their views have not changed. But Republican voters are disenchanted with their team as much as the Congress itself: 69% of GOP Voters say Republicans in Congress are out of touch with the party base.

Fifty-nine percent (59%) now believe that members of Congress are overpaid. That’s up 10 percentage points from last October. Just five percent (5%) think their Congress member is paid too little. Thirty percent (30%) think the pay is about right.

One reason for this attitude may be that most voters say they understand the health care legislation better than Congress. Just 22% think the legislature has a good understanding of the issue. Three-out-of-four (74%) trust their own economic judgment more than Congress’.

Just 14% give Congress good or excellent review for their overall performance, while only 16% believe it’s Very Likely that Congress will address the most important problems facing our nation. Seventy-five percent (75%) say members of Congress are more interested in their own careers than they are in helping people. On the brighter side, just 37% say most in Congress have extramarital affairs.

Fifty-nine percent (59%) of Americans believe that when members of Congress meet with regulators and other government officials, they do so to help their friends and hurt their political opponents. Most believe that’s why politicians are able to solicit contributions from business leaders. Most, however, say it’s generally a good investment because political donors get more than their money’s worth. Fifty-seven percent (57%) of American adults say political donors get more than their money back in terms of favors from members of Congress.

Despite these reviews, more than 90% of Congress routinely gets reelected every two years. It’s a shock when any incumbent loses. One explanation for this phenomenon frequently heard in Washington, D.C. is that “people hate Congress but love their own congressman.”

Voters have a different perspective, and 50% say ‘rigged’ election rules explain high reelection rate for Congress.

When the Constitution was written, the nation’s founders expected that there would be a 50% turnover in the House of Representatives every election cycle. That was the experience they witnessed in state legislatures at the time (and most of the state legislatures offered just one-year terms). For well over 100 years after the Constitution was adopted, the turnover averaged in the 50% range as expected.

In the 20th century, turnover began to decline. As power and prestige flowed to Washington during the New Deal era, fewer and fewer members of Congress wanted to leave. In 1968, congressional turnover fell to single digits for the first time ever, and it has remained very low ever since.

http://www.rasmussenreports.com/public_content/politics/general_politics/august_2009/57_would_like_to_replace_entire_congress

New battery could change world, one house at a time

August 28, 2009

e3b3e846-5ced-11de-a8fc-001cc4c03286.image

Randy Wright – Daily Herald

In a modest building on the west side of Salt Lake City, a team of specialists in advanced materials and electrochemistry has produced what could be the single most important breakthrough for clean, alternative energy since Socrates first noted solar heating 2,400 years ago.

The prize is the culmination of 10 years of research and testing — a new generation of deep-storage battery that’s small enough, and safe enough, to sit in your basement and power your home.

It promises to nudge the world to a paradigm shift as big as the switch from centralized mainframe computers in the 1980s to personal laptops. But this time the mainframe is America’s antiquated electrical grid; and the switch is to personal power stations in millions of individual homes.

Former energy secretary Bill Richardson once disparaged the U.S. electrical grid as “third world,” and he was painfully close to the mark. It’s an inefficient, aging relic of a century-old approach to energy and a weak link in national security in an age of terrorism.

Taking a load off the grid through electricity production and storage at home would extend the life of the system and avoid the expenditure of tens, or even hundreds, of billions to make it “smart.”

The battery breakthrough comes from a Salt Lake company called Ceramatec, the R&D arm of CoorsTek, a world leader in advanced materials and electrochemical devices. It promises to reduce dependence on the dinosaur by hooking up with the latest generation of personalized power plants that draw from the sun.

Solar energy has been around, of course, but it’s been prohibitively expensive. Now the cost is tumbling, driven by new thin-film chemistry and manufacturing techniques. Leaders in the field include companies like Arizona-based First Solar, which can paint solar cells onto glass; and Konarka, an upstart that purchased a defunct Polaroid film factory in New Bedford, Mass., and now plans to print cells onto rolls of flexible plastic.

The convergence of these two key technologies — solar power and deep-storage batteries — has profound implications for oil-strapped America.

“These batteries switch the whole dialogue to renewables,” said Daniel Nocera, a noted chemist and professor of energy at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology who sits on Ceramatec’s science advisory board. “They will turn us away from dumb technology, circa 1900 — a 110-year-old approach — and turn us forward.”

Why not just upgrade to a so-called “smart grid” as President Obama has proposed in his economic stimulus package? There are complications, Nocera said.

“First you have to rebuild the grid because the one we have now is a creaky machine from the 1920s, and we keep trying to retrofit it,” he said. “Then you’re going to have computers trying to manage the energy, which brings up issues like security. You have to make it really secure so you don’t have people hacking into things. And then politics. Just wait until you try to run power lines through someone’s backyard.

“I can’t imagine anything more secure than generating my own energy with the sun at my house, and now I’ll have a way to store it. It’s the ultimate in security, and the ultimate in control.”

With small-scale electrical generation taking place at millions of individual homes — as opposed to today’s large-scale power generation from a handful of giant power plants — there would be less worry about what’s called “point failure” on the grid. That’s when a single component gets knocked out and shuts off power to a whole region. California-style rolling blackouts would be history.

The threat of terrorism has heightened the worry. But wide distribution of batteries in homes would virtually eliminate it.

Continue Article